The North Shore of Massachusetts has been home my entire life, and it is my favorite place to be no matter the season. Being a big foodie, I have come across the best of the best in my surrounding neighborhoods. These food places are essential stops if you live close by or are traveling in and around Massachusetts.
Carleen's may not look like much from the outside, being in a small shopping plaza. But everyone around the North Shore knows that it is the perfect breakfast joint if you're looking to get the best bang for your buck.
What to get? The corn beef hash and cuban sandwich have never disappointed. It is proven that there is a scientific reason we all love brunch, and Carleen's only adds to that love.
2. The Little Depot Diner (Peabody, MA)
Guy Fieri approved this one, so you know it must be good. The Little Depot Diner is a big fan favorite of everyones, and it's small cute old-style diner feel never disappoints. This joint is extremely tiny, so get ready to wait in line. Between their "special butter" and their amazing Pastrami Benedict, this is an essential stop right outside of Boston.
Smoothies, açai bowls, breakfast bowls, salads, wraps, quinoa bowls, panini, soups, coffee, tea, juices, where does it end? This cute cafe right across from the best ice cream place in New England is a central location for North Shore folks.
I personally always find the time to make that 25 minute drive from my house just for some granola and fruit, because it is just THAT good.
4. Andyman's (Amesbury, MA)
This place is near and dear to my heart. I would come here every Sunday during high school and have my mocha cinnamon swirl coffee with any kind of bagel I was feelin' that day. Their pastries are amazing, but if you have to pick a specific item, go for the bagels. They're super fluffy and fresh. You can get whatever you'd like on them or even make them into a sandwich.
If you need help deciding what bagel, take this quiz on what kind of bagel are you.
We had to include seafood in this post, because after all this is in Massachusetts. Located right off a main road, I have driven by the Clam Box countless times and never not seen a line out the door (even at off hours).
I recently became a huge fried clam fan, and the portions are absolutely massive and amazing. Their homemade tartar sauce is an added bonus.
Brine is fairly new on the North Shore, and it is New England's first Oyster, Crudo and Chop Bar. On the pricier and fancier side, it's definitely a spot for a lovely night out. Well known for their artistic small plates and raw bar, this is a great place for a date night or celebration. Top your night off with some yummy gelato a short stroll away.
A nice in-between of the two previous restaurants, Causeway restaurant is in one of the most iconic New England towns, Gloucester. The whole town is basically on the water and smells of the sea, and you get that whole essence at this restaurant. The mussels are amazing, and so is just about everything on the menu.
Want to try other great seafood restaurants in Gloucester? Here's a list of foods you must have while there.
Sandwiches and Burgers
Nick's Roast Beef is a classic spot in Beverly, Massachusetts, ever since it opened in 1975. But it's not just locals that frequent Nicks. People travel far and wide. Phantom Gourmet deemed this as the "hidden jewel" of the North Shore, and they couldn't be more right.
What to get: the large three-way sandwich (roast beef, cheese, mayo) and a large order of onion rings. If you are in a time crunch and want to make a great pesto roast beef sandwich at home, here's a recipe.
Ever go to the beach and bring a sandwich from a local deli? Well, this is the place to go for that. At the very North point of Massachusetts, it's worth the trek all the way up. Their sandwiches are jam-packed with meats, veggies, cheeses, and sauces, each bite better than the next.
They also sell their own meats, and all different kinds of liquors, desserts, snacks, and side dishes as well. They hands down make the best beach sandwich I've ever had.
Normally I'm not one to be a fan of chains, but this is a place I can make an exception for. Flatbread Pizza Co. serves only small salads, pizza, and their amazing desserts all around Massachusetts and even a few other states.
They don't need to serve anything else because their pizza is just THAT good. They're known as one of the best pizzas in the Northeast. The atmosphere is cool and earthy, not to mention it's all organic and natural ingredients, so it must be healthy, right?
Arguably the best pizza on the North Shore, I have waited 2+ hours just for my individual Riverview Pizza. I can't quite put my finger on what it is about this pizza that is so addicting, but there is nothing better than taking a bunch of their pizzas home and having a movie marathon. Extremely cheap and casual, Riverview never disappoints.
Steak Houses and Date Night Spots
If all-you-can-eat Brazillian BBQ meats carved right in front of your eyes sounds appealing, than this is the right spot for you. Take your pick between filet minion, london broil, baby back ribs, lamb, sirloin, and many other meats (you can even mix and match). (If you're uneducated in steak, here's an ultimate guide to the meats.)
In addition to this amazing experience, they also have spectacular apps, salads, regular meat and veggie entrees and pasta if you're not looking to stuff your face with meat for hours on end (but who wouldn't want that?).
Davio's Lynnfield location is especially unique to the Davio's chain, because they incorporate fresh produce from Whole Food's rooftop garden, which is just across the street. This ensures full freshness in all their ingredients. Davio's is a classic steak spot for young and old around the North Shore, and it is always a staple choice when picking where to go for a birthday or anniversary celebration.
3. Andiamo's (Chelmsford and Newburyport, MA)
What could be more perfect for date night than dancing to live music? Every Wednesday and Friday night, live local artists come to preform and the dance floor opens up to couples and friends of all ages. Besides their constant upcoming events to liven your night, the food is superb.
#SpoonTip: order a ton of apps for the table to split as the meal.
Not that the entrees aren't decadent, but my personal favorite is their warm burrata cheese, their sirloin carpaccio, and their butternut squash soup. The homemade bread is also always warm and served with fresh butter.
Couldn't get enough of their butternut squash soup? Here's an easy five-ingredient recipe to try at home.
1. Thai Sweet Basil (Andover, MA)
I was never a big fan of thai food until I was forced to go with my family a couple of years ago, and it was to this place right here. As soon as I took a bite of their drunken noodles, I was drunk in love. This place may not look like much from the outside, but the quality of the food is superb and very fairly priced.
Agave is in my opinion the best Mexican you can get anywhere in Massachusetts, but it's also in my hometown so I may be impartial. They have huge delicious margaritas, table-side homemade guacamole, burritos and other dishes bigger than your face.
#SpoonTip: If you're feelin' a cheat day, split the nachos. They are MASSIVE and the best nachos you will ever eat, and they won't break your bank.
Another amazing spot in Newburyport, but this one is not as well known. This place is almost never full, but I cannot understand why because the food is reasonably priced and to die for. I recently became a big Indian food fan, and this place was the start of that. Here is a guide to what Indian food you should get, as told by an Indian.
Hopefully this list will get you as excited as it gets me about the beautiful North Shore Massachusetts, and can fulfill all your food desires no matter what you're craving that day. Yes, we do clam chowda and lobsta good, but we do everything else wicked great.